Unlike in 2014, the cornerback prospects in this coming draft are uninspiring. Always a tough position to make the transition from college to the pros, this years class leaves much to be desired. Last year was chock full of candidates. Not so much this year. I'll list my top 5 draft prospects as well as the top 5 FA prospects. Likewise with the FA prospects, the ones available are somewhat limited. The best ones are going to be expensive and aging.
Let's start off with the free agents. Ideally this would be the way to address our needs. The facts are we need someone to play opposite Keenan Lewis as a true #1 or 2 CB.
We'll mention Patrick Robinson only because he is one of our own FAs. Patrick has largely been a disappointment while a Saints CB. Right Dan? He did improve last year when played as a nickle corner. Unfortunately that is the only position Patrick is suited for. I don't see the need to bring him back. Hopefully, Stanley Jean-Baptiste will be able to step into this role next year. I still have hopes that Stanley can develop into a #1 or 2 corner, but it may well take another year. Yes Patrick had 11 pass breakups as well as 2 INTs this year, but he was targeted and torched often, as the #2 corner this year and most seasons with the Saints.
The top FA prospect in my opinion would be Brandon Flowers. Brandon will turn 29 next month and had 10 pass breakups, with 3 INTs in 2014 while playing with the farm team, the Chargers.
Antonio Cromartie would probably be the next best option. He had 10 pass breakup and 3 INTs as well as 1 fumble recovery for a TD. Antonio will turn 31 in April.
Byron Maxwell of Seattle, is turning 27 next month. he had 4 INTs in 2013 and 2 in 2014. He had 12 pass breakups both seasons. Byron was sick the week before the game against Carolina and only had 4 special team snaps and is uncertain for the NFCCG against Green Bay.
Chris Culliver of the 49ers will be 27 in August. Chris had a torn ACL in 2013 but came back in 2014 and had 4 INTs with 14 pass breakups.
Kareem Jackson of the Texans will turn 27 in April. He had 3 INTs and 9 pass breakups in only 13 games due to missing 3 with a knee injury.
The draft prospects:
Trae Waynes out of Michigan State, is my number one CB prospect in this years draft. In fact since Ifo Ekpre-Olomu suffered a serious knee injury in December, (undisclosed source says it may be more serious than and ACL), he may be the only true 1st round candidate. At 6'1" the only problem I have is he is a little light at 182 lbs to play in the NFL.
Waynes has seven passes broken up, three interceptions, and 40 tackles in 2014. He has been reliable in coverage and has demonstrated the ability to be a press-man corner. The junior is quick and physical.
P.J. Williams a 6'0" 196 lb CB out of Florida State, is another possible 1st round candidate. Draftscout.com has him rated as the #3 rated CB in this years class.
Alex Carter of Stanford, is a 6'0" 200 lb CB which I wouldn't expect to go any earlier than the second round. He is rated in the top 100 cornerbacks, and could move up to a 1st rounder with a good combine and workouts.
Jalen Collins, a junior out of LSU, has also declared for this years draft. The 6'2" 198 lb CB had 9 pass breakups in 2014 tied for first at LSU, although not a starter. He has been a quality rotational back for 3 seasons. Likewise I would expect Jalen to go in the 2nd or 3rd rounds.
Lastly, I submit Senquez Golson out of Ole Miss. At 5'9" and 176 lbs, Golson is smaller than I usually like for a CB, but he had 9 INTs in 2014, 2nd in the nation, with 8 pass breakups and 41 tackles.